The California Litigator

September 9, 2010

By Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS

Legal writing is the process of organizing and analyzing a legal issue, then articulating your analysis into a written format.  Most legal professionals are expected to perform some level of legal research and legal writing.  Whether you have been requested to provide a legal memorandum or points and authorities supporting law and motion, there are several methods for the analysis of facts and rules that attorneys have been taught to utilize in law school.  Which method you utilize is really a matter of preference.  As legal support, however, it is important to learn and use the method that the supervising attorney prefers.  Some of these methods are known as IRAC, FIRAC, MIRAT, IDAR, CRAAC, among others.  They are all acronyms for a particular legal writing method.

 reserachDiscussed in this issue is the IRAC method.  IRAC stands for Issue, Rule, Application/Analysis, and Conclusion.  By following these four steps in the order given, it will allow you to submit a legal analysis that is structured and understandable to an attorney. 

Step 1:  I = Issue.  Identify the issue.  An issue exists when a legal question arises from the application of a legal rule to a given set of facts.  The first sentence in an IRAC analysis states the issue that will be discussed.  If more than one issue exists, then prepare a separate IRAC analysis for each issue.  Do not combine issues in one analysis.  A legal issue should be brief and to the point.

Step 2:  R = Rule.  The rule is the legal authority to which the facts of your case are applied.  There can be multiple rules that may apply to any given set of facts.  A separate IRAC analysis should be prepared for each individual rule.  There is an exhaustive number of legal "rules."  Examples of rules are:  statutes, regulations, ordinances, Appellate court cases, and safety orders.  Do not paraphrase the rule when preparing an IRAC analysis.  It is necessary to quote the exact language of the rule.  If the citation is long, only quote the applicable section.  If you do shorten the citation, use ellipses to illustrate the omitted portions of the citation.  Always identify the legal authority.  A great source in providing the guidelines for citing authority is The Bluebook 

Step 3:  A = Application or Analysis.  A proper analysis explains the legal significance of the facts in comparison to the rule from all legal aspects.  The legal writing style used will vary depending upon the assignment by the attorney.  For example, if the analysis is for a legal memorandum for inner office use, the writing style will be less formal.  On the other hand, if the analysis will be used to formulate points and authorities supporting a motion, the writing style will be formal and consistent with law and motion.

~ANALYSIS POINTER~  IRAC is considered a predictive method.  In other words, the analysis and final writing will predict how the court will most likely rule on an issue.  It is important not to muddy the facts with a one-sided viewpoint.  It is also important to include any rules or facts that may be contrary to your client's case.  Objectivity is the key to any good IRAC analysis.

Step 4:  C = Conclusion.  The conclusion is the result of the analysis.  The conclusion should answer the question presented.


 

Do you want to use this article? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: "Barbara Haubrich-Hass, The California Litigator, publishes an e-zine that delivers simple discussions and strategies for the California civil litigation professional. Barbara’s discussions focus on common paralegal and law office tasks, such as pre-litigation document gathering, document preparation, filing rules, law and motion, discovery, arbitration, trial, deadline calculation, and post-trial procedures. More information is available at http://www.thecalifornialitigator.com

©Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER: Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS, is not an attorney. Any information derived from The California Litigator, and any other statements contained herein, are for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or a recommendation on a legal matter. The information from The California Litigator is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or current. Barbara makes no warranty, express or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information provided within this article, or to any other website to which this article may be linked.

Comments  

 
0 #1 FIES 2014 Inscri 2014-03-29 12:18
Hi, just wanted to mention, I liked this article. It was inspiring.
Keep on posting!
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Do you want to use any of the articles on this website? You can so long as you include this entire blurb with it: "Barbara Haubrich-Hass, The California Litigator, publishes an e-zine that delivers simple discussions and strategies for the California civil litigation professional. Barbara’s discussions focus on common paralegal and law office tasks, such as pre-litigation document gathering, document preparation, filing rules, law and motion, discovery, arbitration, trial, deadline calculation, and post-trial procedures. More information is available at http://www.thecalifornialitigator.com

 

DISCLAIMER:  Barbara Haubrich-Hass, ACP/CAS, is not an attorney. Any information derived from The California Litigator, and any other statements contained herein, are for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice or a recommendation on a legal matter. The information from The California Litigator is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or current. Barbara makes no warranty, express or implied, about the accuracy or reliability of the information provided within this website, or to any other website to which this website or articles may be linked.